Historical Archive

The Historical Archive holds in its custody the documentation that bears witness to the organic structure, functions and activities of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa throughout its centuries-old institutional trajectory.

The Misericórdia de Lisboa Historical Archive is responsible for coordinating and ensuring the functioning and safekeeping of the definitive and intermediate archives, which are essentially made up of documents produced and received by the Institution. It is also responsible for the organisation of the Antique Book library. It is responsible for gathering, organising, describing, conserving, divulging and making available the documental collection of the Santa Casa and its historical library.

The archive receives documents from several Services of the Institution, making its respective evaluation and selection, under the terms defined by Ordinance 6/2017 (January 4th), which approves the document management regulations of Misericórdia de Lisboa. This Service also coordinates the process of eliminating documentation without secondary or historical value, based on the presuppositions assumptions set out in this legal diploma.

With the great earthquake of 1755 and the violent fire that followed, Misericórdia de Lisboa saw much of its heritage and documentation destroyed. For this reason, documents dating from the mid-eighteenth century to the present day are still kept in the Historical Archive.

The historical documentation of Santa Casa da Misericórdia in Lisbon, housed on about 6 km of shelves, consists mainly of paper documents, parchment, photographs and sound recordings.

The Historical Archive also guarantees the safekeeping and technical treatment of the Santa Casa Antique Book collection (15th to 18th centuries), consisting of a relevant collection of Portuguese and foreign printed matter, in a total of about 5.000 titles, originating from the former libraries of Misericórdia de Lisboa, the Convent of São Pedro de Alcântara and the Casa dos Marqueses de Alegrete.

Reproduction of documents
Research support
Guided tours


For user support, scheduling a face-to-face appointment or requesting other services related to the Historical Archive, please contact arquivo.historico@scml.pt.

The documental collection of Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa consists of an organic set of documents produced or received by Santa Casa during the exercise of its activity and classified by the following areas:

Fund: Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa
Other Funds

These “tokens” are mostly composed of a ‘note’, i.e., a textual document, usually on paper, in which the parent or someone designated thereby, recorded information regarding the child that was considered necessary or useful.

This documentary series is composed of more than 86.700 “token”, which makes this set one of the most significant in numerical terms and in chronological comprehensiveness.

The importance of this document lies not only in the fact that it represents the statutes of the Confraria da Misericórdia which are fundamentally based on the 14 Misericórdia Works, 7 Corporal and 7 Spiritual, but also in the possibility of diffusing this basic text followed by all the Confraria da f Misericórdia, both in mainland Portugal and overseas, that is, in territories where the Portuguese were present.

Inside the archive

The guardians of the history of Santa Casa

Foundling Tokens - Conservation and Restoration


Vítor Ribeiro Reading Room
Every weekday: 9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Documents must be requested within 30 minutes before closing.


+351 213 235 738






Largo Trindade Coelho
1200-470 Lisboa